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Kyiv cinemas are threatened because of the Queer Film Festival

On the eve of the first Sunny Bunny LGBTQIA+ Film Festival, two Kyiv cinemas ‘Zhovten’ and KINO42, where films will be screened, received threats. A statement from the cinemas said that unknown persons threatened to attack and burn down the premises. DTF Magazine contacted the organizers of Sunny Bunny and tells about the situation

‘Zhovten’ and KINO42 reported about the threats on their Instagram pages on June 22, the day of the opening of the film festival: ‘In recent days we have received numerous threats because of the first Sunny Bunny LGBTQIA+ Film Festival in Ukraine that will take place from June 22 to 28. Calls to attack and even burn down cinemas because of this programme policy are spreading on social media’.

Also the administration of cinemas together with the organizers of the festival appealed to the Kyiv police with a request to ensure public order at the festival locations and hired additional guards.

Also in a joint statement, the cinemas reminded us of the arson of the ‘Zhovten’ movie theater in 2014: ‘Kyiv residents need not be reminded of the devastating fire that occurred as a result of the arson of the Zhovten cinema under similar circumstances on October 29, 2014. Fortunately, there were no fatalities, but the building was badly damaged’.


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Публикация от КІНО42 (@kino42kyiv)

What was the reaction of the organizers of the film festival

‘In Ukraine, we are not yet able to hold the first LGBTQIA+ festival with absolute freedom, — Bohdan Zhuk, director of Sunny Bunny, tells DTF Magazine in a commentary. — It’s clear that this attracts a lot of attention. Accordingly, we anticipated this, so we planned and prepared, we worked with security and police. I must give credit that the police worked quickly and efficiently. They have to be there every day during the festival from the beginning to the end of the screenings. We opened, and I hope there won’t be any problems, attacks or provocations’.

Bohdan Zhuk also said that the threats were anonymous, and he read ‘various comments under the Facebook posts of the “Zhovten” cinema, which can be interpreted in different ways’.

‘We saw that everyone was sharing screenshots from some group where there were certain calls. — Bohdan adds. — I don’t want to comment on these calls and threats, so that other people wouldn’t have similar ideas. But these are threats, which we reported to the police, because it’s a violation of the law. Anyway, we hire security guards who work at the locations. In addition, we usually have training sessions for volunteers who work at the cinema. We did a security briefing, so the preparation is done’.

The festival opened with the documentary ‘Orlando, My Political Biography’ at the ‘Zhovten’ cinema on June 22, where law enforcement was present, but there were no rallies or provocations.

Since 2001 Sunny Bunny has been the queer film program of the Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival, inspired by the Teddy Award at the Berlinale. Now it is Ukraine’s first independent LGBTQIA+ festival, which this year shows more than 60 films in nine programs.

Our film festival guide includes 20 of the most notable films worth seeing on the big screen.

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